Sins of emission: playing my part in the Volkswagen scandal

Erica Schemper

Erica Schemper
September 28, 2015

The Volkswagen scandal is a reminder of how our sinfulness, both individually and corporately, holds us back from shalom.

John Elwood
September 29, 2015

Thank you for this thoughtful article. You don't attempt to offer us a solution for the pollution in which we are all complicit, in varying degrees, and I think that is wise. You now live with the knowledge that you are more complicit than you previously thought. You will, no doubt, find a way to respond in a good way.

But let me offer a further insight. The VW scandal exposes the myth that technology will solve our environmental challenges without any real sacrifice from us. I too "bought" my way to creation stewardship, with a Prius and a 2005 Jetta diesel (both fuel sippers); and I count on the next model being much more efficient and clean. But VW's actions suggest that technology offers few silver bullets; that we all are going to have to make decisions to stay local, with less speed and power, or with smaller cars -- in addition to thousands of other decisions for simplicity and loving stewardship.

Rod Hugen
September 29, 2015

I once proudly owned a car that burned ethanol E85 only to discover that rather than helping, I was hurting the planet. Nowadays I'm equally concerned about both the damage we cause and the often false belief that we can fix what we've broken.

Doug Vande Griend
September 30, 2015

I'd like to offer a counter-point to the author's admission of being complicit. She's not, unless the word is redefined. In the big picture of things, these extra emissions aren't much of a deal, although the deliberately deception by VW is, although the author had no role in that. If she is complicit, so is an all-electric Nissan Leaf owner. Indeed, an all-electric Nissan Leaf owner might be more complicit because that owner would have more cause to know that her Leaf powering electricity is generated by coal burning plants.

If we insist on being so overly confessing and self-deprecating, we need to just stop procreating and consider suicide so that people, the bottom line cause for all of this pollution (and carbon output), are reduced and eventually eliminated. Only then will God's creation be spared the groans of hosting humans.

Or we could consider joining an advocacy group to promote building a lot more nuclear plants. That's actually a very green, practical strategy but few seem to want to discuss it (except in Sweden and France).

As to VW TDI cars, diesel engines still consume less resources to accomplish the same work (moving people and stuff). VW may have broken the rules, but the TDI engine is still "environmentally friendly," again when everything is rationally considered.

So drive your car with confidence, Erica. And stop feeling guilty that VW deceived the government. You didn't, and your choice of car is still a good one.

And no, I don't work for VW, although I do favor diesel engines.

Add your comment to join the discussion!